Neoprene & Vinyl for Game Mats

I designed some game mats/playmats for the card game, Arkham Horror and had my designs “Constellations” (aka Dunwich Horror) printed on neoprene and “Dark City” (aka Shadow Over Innsmouth) printed on vinyl/pvc. This is a short video talking about/showing some of the differences between these materials being used as playmats/game mats. I did forget a couple of things so will add them below.

My little Etsy shop where the playmat designs can be purchased:

Neoprene (Constellations playmat, 24×28 inches)
Printed by Inked Gaming (US site)

Pros: Vibrant/excellent color, flexible – can be rolled for storage, won’t crease (not easily), rubber backing, won’t shift, washable, lays flat, easy to pick cards up from.
Cons: Expensive ($101 CAD for me after shipping, duty & dollar conversion). Edges can fray & surface pill over time (much like a mouse pad), not water-proof, chemical smell (eventually fades with time), limitation on sizes.

Vinyl aka PVC (Dark City/ Shadow Over Innsmouth playmat, 36×20 inches)
Printed by Vista Print (Canadian site, but they have a US version too)

Pros: Good color (it matched the artwork perfectly), cheap ($24 CAD after shipping & tax), water-proof (can be wiped), flexible – can be rolled for storage, lays flat, easy to pick cards up, can be printed in very large sizes, can easily trim/cut it to be smaller, and cards slide less due to plastic surface.
Cons: Can crease, doesn’t have rubber backing so surface is hard (can maybe add one?), requires custom sizing (although easy to trim), light-weight. Smaller copy/text is not as sharp.

My current preference (Feb 2019): Neoprene, when I can afford it.

Did you watch till the end?
My pups had wandered into the kitchen near the end of the video, so I thought I’d include them as they like to be part of things 🙂
The boy at the table with me is Eko (a red shiba inu) and the girl ( black & tan shiba inu), is Momo – which is where the name for my store also came from.


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  • What's the best way to store a gaming mat? Fold it or roll it up?

  • Thank you!!!!

  • DenisDenis

    Author Reply

    I like your background art (and love your haircut), would be nice some 3×3 and even 3×6 Arkham themed playmats like those in your store, for games like Mansions of madness/Eldritch horror 🙂
    Do you create them just with Arkham theme? I have some playmats with a space theme full of stars mostly because I play so different games that at least work good for all, 3×3 vinyl, 3×3 and 3×6 neoprene (mouse pad they call it here at my local store here in Sweden), I do love the neoprene much more than the pvc, the texture is amazing and cards much easier to pick up. The price is totally different but I think is worth to have at least a generic one that suit different thematics. The pvc one is good for conventions or situations where people could be messy tho, because much easier to clean if they drop some drink/food, plus they are much cheaper but I guess with a rubber back would be much nicer as you said. Did you find out if pvc + back rubber is possible? Never seen that combination

  • That is such a nice idea. I can't seem to find the custom vinyl print sizes on the site you mentioned though 🙁

  • Hi There – I reached out to VistaPrint (USA) regarding the vinyl mat and they were not sure what product you actually ordered after watching the video. Can you advise with a product link? Is this just the vinyl banners (indoor) without grommets?

  • Thank you for sharing your review!

  • You can always wash our neoprene mats they do not tend to pill and it does take a long time for the edges that aren't surged to fray. We are starting to add stitched edging pads as well. Ask for it in the comments section of your order. Only available on some sized mats.

  • I wish somebody would design a 4-player mat. LOVE your background art.

  • Picking cards up off of a mouse mat is also easier. Also the print can lift off of a vinyl mat. Edges can get frayed on the mouse mat, but it takes many years to impact the game imho. A normal mouse mat takes lots of abuse when you're sat at a computer, so lightly using a mouse mat game board should last a lot longer imho. There is nothing worse that trying to pick cards off of a flat surface, as they are hard to grip. The softness of the mouse mat backing makes it LOTS easier. I've played card games on vinyl…… horrid experience!